San Francisco 49ers schedule analysis

Breakdown: The 49ers drew four games in prime time, an indication expectations for the team are on the rise nationally.

Games against the Saints (Week 2), Eagles (Week 5), Cardinals (Week 12) and Chargers (Week 15) give 49ers fans -- and the nation -- a steady diet of San Francisco games this season. It's up to the 49ers to hold up their end. The 49ers play four of five games on the road beginning Nov. 29. This schedule should test them.

The season builds toward a Week 17 home game against the Cardinals, a game that could determine which team emerges with the NFC West title.

Complaint department: The 49ers open with three of their first four games on the road, and their only home game during that stretch comes against the Super Bowl champion Saints. Expectations will be huge for this team, but it's possible San Francisco could struggle some early. The 49ers couldn't win at Seattle last season when the Seahawks were horrible and San Francisco absolutely needed to win. The 49ers cannot assume they'll win the opener at Seattle this season.

Top of the morning to ya: The 49ers drew five games with 10 a.m. PT kickoffs. That's a typical number for them. Team president Jed York has complained about all the early games, but the league has shown no sympathy.

49ers Regular Season Schedule (All times Eastern)

Week 1: Sunday, Sep. 12, at Seattle, 4:15 PM

Week 2: Monday, Sep. 20, New Orleans, 8:30 PM

Week 3: Sunday, Sep. 26, at Kansas City, 1:00 PM

Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 3, at Atlanta, 1:00 PM

Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 10, Philadelphia, 8:20 PM

Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 17, Oakland, 4:05 PM

Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 24, at Carolina, 1:00 PM

Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 31, Denver, 1:00 PM

Week 9: BYE

Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 14, St. Louis, 4:15 PM

Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 21, Tampa Bay, 4:05 PM

Week 12: Monday, Nov. 29, at Arizona, 8:30 PM

Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 5, at Green Bay, 1:00 PM

Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 12, Seattle, 4:05 PM

Week 15: Thursday, Dec. 16, at San Diego, 8:20 PM

Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 26, at St. Louis, 1:00 PM

Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 2, Arizona, 4:15 PM